Workplace Assault

gavel-booksThe question is:  Do an injured employee get workers compensation benefits when he or she is assaulted in the workplace?

The answer is: Maybe.

As a general rule, workplace assault is not covered by workers compensation. However in a recent case, Devine v Great Divide Ins. Co., the Alaska Supreme Court held that because the employer engendered, exacerbated or facilitated a workers’ assault, the then injuries arose out of an in the course of employment.

The facts of the case are: Thomas Sindorf was helping out Paul Chatari in his concrete business on July 7, 2009. Chatari had an employee, Christopher Todd Allen, who hated Sindorf. Allen told Chatari that he could not work in Sindorf’s presence. In order to calm him down, Chatari gave Allen two Valium.

Chatari knew Allen well enough to know that he was a violent person. Allen left the job side and then returned. Chatari did nothing to warn Sindorf or to warn the other employees about Allen. Chartari did nothing to stop Allen from attacking Sindorf.

When Allen returned to the jobsite, Allen attacked Chartari twice causing him significant injuries to his teeth, hip, shoulders and head. Allen was charged and convicted of assault.

If you were assaulted in the workplace, your entitlement to benefits will depend on the evidence. Did the business owner or your supervisor know that the person who assaulted you was violent? Did the business owner or your supervisor know that the person would single you out? Did the business owner or your supervisor warn you or take any steps to protect you?

If you were assaulted in the workplace and required medical attention or were disabled, you should speak with an attorney.

Keenan Powell has practiced Workers Compensation law in the State of Alaska for over 30 years and has dedicated her practice to Workers Compensation representing injured Alaskans handling hundreds of cases.  A sample of verdicts she has obtained for Employees is found at

There is absolutely no fee for a consultation, all consultations are free.  If you want to set up a meeting, use the contact form on this website or call:  907 258 7663.


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